- Our Town
The Bowen LIFT volunteers have had a busy summer and fall and thought it would be a good idea to share what has been happening before 2013 closes. As many will recall, the goal of the BowenLIFT project is to transform casual thumbing – which has been in decline on Bowen over the last several years – into a dependable, island-wide method of transportation.
We have designed and distributed mirror tags for or drivers offering rides and rider tags for those seeking a ride. All tags are colour-coded to let others know where on the island the drivers and riders are going. So far about 300 of these materials have been distributed to islanders. These LIFT tags are available at three locations on the island: Municipal Hall, the library (in the Bowen Collection area), and The Office (above the copy machine). Along with the tags, you'll find Bowen LIFT bumper stickers, and brochures describing the LIFT system.
We held a "LIFT Launch" aboard the Queen of Capilano for 4 days last June, complete with music and volunteers handing out Bowen LIFT materials on the most popular morning and evening ferry sailings. This event was filmed by Metro Vancouver as part of their Sustainable Region TV show and will be on the Metro Vancouver website www.metrovancouver.org soon. Informational posters were mailed to all islanders so those who are not regular ferry users didn't miss out! We also hosted a popular booth at Bowfest which was visited by fellow islanders looking for information and LIFT materials. Everyone is always very enthusiastic about picking up mirror tags, so please be sure to hang them in full view when you are in your car and able to give a lift to your neighbours.
Shovels have also been put in the ground. Eight new LIFT stops have been installed around the island at high priority locations bringing our total LIFT stops to 13 island-wide. The LIFT stops were designed after the local RCMP expressed concerns about it being unsafe to hitchhike in many places, with our unlit narrow roads and blind corners. The LIFT stops provide safe places to wait for a ride, and safe places for cars to pull off the road. Our goal is to have 20 LIFT stops by the end of the project.
A survey was conducted back in March. We wanted to know how much people knew about BowenLIFT, how people were using BowenLIFT, and what improvements to the LIFT project Bowen Islanders would like to see. A total of 213 people participated in the survey conducted on the Queen of Capilano. From the survey we learned that some people drive into Snug Cove because they feel there is no viable alternative. Cowan Point, for example, is not served by a bus. Few people are currently hitchhiking on Bowen regularly or seek a ride when they are on the ferry though most drivers will pick up hitchhikers, but generally only on Bowen!
Keen-eyed Bowen Islanders may also have seen BowenLIFT volunteers with clipboards, pencils and flashlights in hands during the morning and evening ferry runs recently. We are doing this to figure out whether people are ride-sharing. The traffic survey involved counting how many cars were travelling into Snug Cove for ferries. We are monitoring this over the course of the project to see whether the number of vehicles is different at the end of the project than at the beginning of the project. Four days of vehicle surveys have been done so far: February 5th, May 30th, August 22nd, and November 26th, 2013. The remaining vehicle surveys will be conducted in February, May and August 2014. The results of the surveys form the first year will be provided to the Transportation Advisory Committee early in the New Year.
If you haven’t gone to our www.bowenlift.com recently, take a look for a description of all the elements of the LIFT program. Islanders interested in volunteering for LIFT events, surveying, working on the BowenLift.com website or possible work on smart phone integration please contact DG Blair, project coordinator at email@example.com or 604-947-0134. “I remember when you walked down a road on Bowen and the first passing car offered you a lift: let’s just start giving each other rides again!”